Antonio Cataldo, Massimiliano Di Luca, Ophelia Deroy, Vincent Hayward, "Touching with the eyes: Oculomotor self-touch induces illusory body ownership", Cataldo et al., iScience 26, 106180, 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106180

ABSTRACT: Self-touch plays a central role in the construction and plasticity of the bodily self. But which mechanisms support this role? Previous accounts emphasize the convergence of proprioceptive and tactile signals from the touching and the touched body parts. Here, we hypothesise that proprioceptive information is not necessary for self-touch modulation of body-ownership. Because eye movements do not rely on proprioceptive signals as limb movements do, we developed a novel oculomotor self-touch paradigm where voluntary eye movements generated corresponding tactile sensations. We then compared the effectiveness of eye versus hand self-touch movements in generating an illusion of owning a rubber hand. Voluntary oculomotor self-touch was as effective as hand-driven self-touch, suggesting that proprioception does not contribute to body ownership during self-touch. Self-touch may contribute to a unified sense of bodily self by binding voluntary actions toward our own body with their tactile consequences.